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Through CPTED training, healthcare professionals can effectively reduce incidences of crime, reduce public fear of crime, and ultimately, improve the quality of life throughout the community.

In a time where safety and security are of paramount concern to the public, especially within the healthcare industry, the concept and execution of CPTED strategies are essential for protecting patients, staff and visitors in a hospital setting.

Let’s define CPTED, break down the key principles of CPTED and determine how CPTED strategies can be used to enhance safety and security in the healthcare industry.

Defining CPTED

CPTED stands for “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” and is defined as “the proper design and effective use of the built environment that can lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime and an improvement in the quality of life.”

At the NICP, (National Institute of Crime Prevention), we are the leading organization dedicated to reducing crime and promoting safer communities through CPTED education, training, and research.

CPTED isn’t just about fortifying physical structures; it’s a holistic approach that blends architectural design, social management, and behavioral directives to cultivate environments that deter crime and positively influence human behavior.

CPTED Training in Healthcare

Ideally, public health professionals collaborate with architects, engineers and planners, using CPTED principles at the design phase of community projects to build safe, sustainable, healthy environments.

Public health professionals can also apply CPTED principles to existing, unsafe communities as a proven method for reducing crime rates.

Architecture plays a pivotal role in shaping the safety and security of healthcare facilities. Features such as stair and ramp design, interior and exterior lighting, and parking lot layouts can significantly influence the overall security posture of a healthcare building.

Key Principles of CPTED

The three fundamental principles of CPTED are natural surveillance, natural access control, and natural territorial reinforcement.

Natural Surveillance

This principle emphasizes maximizing visibility within the facility to deter criminal activity. In a hospital, this means ensuring that spaces are well-lit and free from obstructions, allowing staff and security personnel to monitor activities effectively.

Strategic placement of security cameras and staff workstations can also further enhance surveillance capabilities, providing a deterrent to potential wrongdoers.

Natural Access Control

Controlling access points is crucial in preventing unauthorized individuals from entering sensitive areas.

Hospitals can implement this principle by using features such as designated walkways and paths, design and placement of the reception area, wayfinding strategies, keycard access systems, and gates, to regulate entry into restricted areas like patient rooms, emergency rooms, and medication storage areas.

By clearly defining pathways and access points, hospitals can minimize the risk of unauthorized access and improve overall security.

Territorial Reinforcement

Hospitals can create a sense of ownership and responsibility in the hospital environment by clearly defining boundaries and establishing zones for specific activities.

For example, designating waiting areas, common areas, treatment rooms, and administrative offices helps to reinforce the intended purpose of each space and encourages appropriate behavior. Incorporating landscaping standards, colorful design elements, and signage can further delineate hospital property and enhance the sense of territorial reinforcement.


Regular maintenance of the physical environment is essential to ensure that CPTED principles remain effective over time.

Hospitals should prioritize upkeep of lighting, landscaping, and security infrastructure to prevent deterioration that could compromise security measures. Addressing maintenance issues promptly demonstrates a commitment to security and can help deter criminal activity by signaling that the facility is actively monitored and cared for.

How to Implement CPTED in Healthcare Communities

The best way to understand and implement CPTED strategies in healthcare settings is by undergoing CPTED training with the NICP and earning your CPTED certification.

At the NICP, we offer specialized training programs tailored to public health professionals, providing you with the knowledge and skills necessary to assess security risks, develop comprehensive CPTED strategies, and collaborate with stakeholders to implement effective solutions in the healthcare community.

Take the first step to earn your CPTED certification.

Our mission is to provide you with the best and most current training possible. With a hands-on approach, we help you gain the knowledge and confidence you need in order for healthcare professionals to implement CPTED principles in their community.

Our course finder makes it easy to review all of our course listings, curriculum, and select and purchase the courses that best suit your needs. See our upcoming in-person events, and learn more about how to earn the CPD certification.

if you still have questions, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! View our online courses and sign up today.

Joelle Hushen

CPTED Specialized Topics - Houses of Worship is now available!